Music, Movies, TV – An Insider’s Perspective

Tag: Women in Music

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

I feel like an anxious kid waiting for Santa as I impatiently wait for the Whitney Houston film “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” to hit theatres on December 22, 2022.

Whitney Houston was known as the “greatest singer of her generation.” She was also known as ‘THE VOICE.”

Whitney Houston was one of the greatest vocalist of all-time. She was a popular actress and also a huge box office draw for theatres.

Even though Whitney Houston left us on February 11, 2012. She is still beloved worldwide and ranks as one of the best performers, and best-selling female artists of all time.

Throughout her career from 1985-2012 Whitney received many awards and accolades to include 2 Emmy Awards, 6 Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 8 Soul Train Music Awards, 14 World Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards and 28 entries in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Whitney Houston has also been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I had the opportunity to be around Whitney on a few occasions.

My first encounter with Whitney was when she dropped by a record store that I managed in Los Angeles CA. Her first album was just released, and Clive Davis suggested that she should meet some of the key players in radio and retail. This brought her to my store where she sat on our counter and watched as customers bought her album as it played over the sound system in my store.

Whitney Houston’s self titled debut album available on CD here or LP here

This was not an official in-store autograph signing event, so customers were not aware that she would be in the store. They had no idea that Whitney was watching as they purchased her debut album. Whitney Houston was humble, sweet, and had a wholesome look and persona. At the time, she had no idea that she was about to become a musical icon and one of the GREATEST OF ALL-TIME!

On another occasion in 1995, I was invited to a private listening party for the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack. It was a star-studded event. I will never forget how the atmosphere in the room changed as Tupac entered with Faith Evans who was also featured on the album. This was the last time I had the opportunity to speak to Tupac. Just ten months later on September 7, 1996, Tupac was shot in Las Vegas and succumbed to his wounds six days later.

When Whitney walked into the party with Clive Davis, I watched as the other celebrities became star-struck fans that clamored to speak to her. The film and soundtrack for “Waiting to Exhale” were both phenomenally successful. You can get the film and view the movie trailer here …Waiting to Exhale available at

Here are a couple of my most treasured photos with Whitney.

When the biographical musical film on the life of Whitney Houston is released on December 22, there will be another surge in the sales of Whitney’s music and films. This is why I chose to write about Whitney now. Her music and films will make excellent gifts for the holidays. Now through the end of the year all of Whitney’s music and films are currently on sale and well stocked here: Everything Whitney Houston at DeepDiscount,com

March is Women’s History Month

I prefer to call it……WOMEN’S HER-STORY MONTH.

Today as I reminisce about the women that have been important and have influenced my life,  I decided to listen to some of the female artists that are forever playing in the soundtrack of my life.

Many of the artists and songs I am listening to remind me of the strong, powerful, independent women that have helped shape my life. As I listen to each artist it takes me back to a time in which I have shared these songs with the extraordinary women that have inspired, motivated, and taught me to be the best woman I can be.

Although I have had a lot of success in the hip hop and urban music genres, I have always enjoyed music of most genres. The wonderful thing about music is there is something for everyone and every mood. The music that I am not drawn to can be someone else’s favorite music that touches their heart and soul. We all have our favorite types of music and mine seems to incorporate many genres. I listen to music based on my mood or the mood that I want or need at the time. Music is my medicine. Music can change my mood…give me energy…make me smile or cry…AND it can give me peace and hope when it is needed.

Today I want to share with you some of the female artists that have been a consistent ray of light in my life.

I am not listing them in a certain order or by genre. Each artist is just as important as the other based on the mood I am looking for at the time. There are newer artists that I also adore but the ones I am featuring today have been the staples and my “go-to” artists that I can enjoy daily.

If some of these AMAZING female artists are your favorites I hope I prompt you to listen to them today and throughout Women’s History Month. If you have never heard of them I hope you will give them a listen. I could go deep into the catalog of these artists, but I will make it easy by listing one or two of the albums or songs that are my favorites. I will list my favorite studio albums but most of these artists also have amazing greatest hit albums. All these women have an extensive catalog available on . Almost everything I’m listing is available, You can check out their selection of CD’s, LP’s, Imports and DVD’s by clicking the artist’s links below.

Joni Mitchell (see all available selections)

  • Blue
  • Court and Spark
  • Ladies of the Canyon

Carole King (see all available selections)

  • Tapestry
  • Music
  • Fantasy

Billie Holiday (see all available selections)

  • Lady Sings the Blues
  • Greatest Hits

Sade (see all available selections)

  • Diamond Life
  • Love Deluxe
  • Essential Sade

Donna Summer (see all available selections)

  • Bad Girls
  • On the Radio Greatest Hits

Ani DiFranco (see all available selections)

  • Like I Said
  • Dilate

India Arie (see all available selections)

  • Acoustic Soul
  • Voyage to India
  • Worthy

Aretha Franklin (see all available selections)

  • I Never Loved a Man the Way That I Love You
  • Lady Soul
  • Greatest Hits

Nina Simone (see all available selections)

  • Nina Simone Sings the Blues

Lady Gaga (see all available selections)

  • The Fame
  • Born This Way

Whitney Houston (see all available selections)

  • Whitney Houston
  • Whitney
  • I’m Your Baby Tonight
  • Bodyguard Soundtrack

Tracy Chapman (see all available selections)

  • Tracy Chapman
  • Crossroads
  • New Beginning

Jewel (see all available selections)

  • Pieces of You

Eva Cassidy (see all available selections)

  • Songbird
  • Live at Blues Alley

Mary J Blige (see all available selections)

  • My Life
  • What’s the 411
  • Mary

Teena Marie (see all available selections)

  • Starchild
  • Robbery
  • Ultimate Collection

Barbra Streisand (see all available selections)

  • A Star is Born
  • The Way We Were
  • People
  • The Broadway Album

Alanis Morissette (see all available selections)

  • Jagged Little Pill

Pink (see all available selections)

  • The Truth About Love
  • I’m Not Dead
  • Fun House
  • Beautiful Trauma

Alicia Keys (see all available selections)

  • Songs in A Minor
  • Diary of Alicia Keys
  • As I Am
  • Here

Janet Jackson is Back in Control

Have you seen the Janet Jackson Documentary on Lifetime TV?

This is one of the best documentaries that I have seen on a recording artist. Perhaps it is because Janet was the executive producer of her own two-part, four-hour documentary. We have seen other unauthorized biographies and documentaries, but this time Janet controlled the narrative as she told her real-life stories, hardships, and triumphs with raw emotion. We see some never-before-seen footage of the icon and her family.

Janet takes us on a journey of her life from Gary, Indiana to where she is today.

Being the youngest of 9 gifted and talented Jackson children, Janet had a lot to prove before she could emerge on her own. (there were 10 children, but one died shortly after birth)

All the Jackson siblings were successful in music, but it was Michael and Janet that both had enormous solo careers. Michael was one of the most popular and biggest selling recording artists of all time and Janet often stood in his shadow until she took control of her own destiny.

Janet’s documentary on A&E and Lifetime takes us on a journey through some personal and professional aspects of her life. Fans have not seen this inside look into her life and career as told by Janet until now. Janet speaks about her brother Michael and the infamous Super Bowl half-time performance with Justin Timberlake.

In her documentary “Janet Jackson” we see Janet as the child, the sibling, the actor, recording artist, the dancer, performer, singer, songwriter….the proud MOTHER and the SUPERSTAR.


In 1982, at the age of sixteen, Janet signed her first record deal with A&M Records. This is where I first met Janet. It was at a listening party at A&M Studios for her debut album that was simply titled “Janet Jackson”

Through the years I have been around Janet several times. I was extremely fortunate to have front row seats for her Rhythm Nation tour at the Forum in 1990. Below you will see photos that were taken in the Forum Club at a reception for her.

Every tour and album release always had a spectacular event or party. I had some in-stores with Janet and one Christmas season she did a remote radio interview in my store with the famed DJ, Greg Mack. (see photo below)

My favorite Janet party was for “The Velvet Rope.” It was an outdoor event with a carnival type atmosphere. There were celebrity sightings everywhere but when one caught our eye, we could not resist talking to him. It was Mike Tyson and both myself and my guest Carla were huge boxing fans. This is where I lost Carla for a while as she sat and talked boxing with Mike Tyson. Carla knew her history and stats on boxing so Mike was engaged in the conversation.

After seeing Janet’s documentary, I wanted to listen to some of Janet’s albums. I decided to go back to basics and to break out my old vinyl records. I quickly realized that I was missing a few that used to be a part of my Janet Jackson collection. So today I am going to use my gift card that I got over the holidays. I cannot think of a better way to use it even with thousands of other titles within my clicking fingertips.

In case you have the urge to listen to Janet, or Ms. Jackson, if you’re nasty…HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES…(Due to the popularity of Janet’s Documentary several titles are currently out of stock, but they are on their way back very soon – click this link to check availability)

  • Control
  • Rhythm Nation
  • Rhythm Nation (the remixes)
  • Janet (2 LP set)
  • The Velvet Rope (CD or LP)
  • Design of a Decade 1986-1996 Greatest Hits
  • All For You (LP)

Carole King

“The most prolific American songwriter and female musician in the history of POP MUSIC”

I can’t fully move into my October topics of Horror and Rock before I discuss one more legendary “WOMAN IN MUSIC.” Carole King co-wrote her first #1 song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” at age 17. I feel like I am preaching to the choir by writing about her. Let’s face it, if you are a woman and you have listened or paid attention to music over the last 60 years you have heard the music of Carole King on the radio, in movies or on TV.

AND…if you are a husband, boyfriend, wife, or partner of a Carole King fan, I know you have also heard her music. Carole King fans tend to talk about her…A LOT!

Carole King is the most successful American female songwriter of the last 60 years. When Carole began writing songs in the sixties, she did most of her writing from a building that was in the heart of Manhattan, New York’s music industry. Many of her songs were co-written with “Gerry Goffin” who she married in 1959.

The Brill Building was known for the talented young songwriters that penned their hits under that iconic roof. The Brill Building was known as the “house of hits” or the “hit factory.” Some of the most successful and well-known songwriters got their start at “the Brill.” Music that came out of this building was different, new, and fresh for that time. Many of the songs mixed the popular rock and roll sound of that time with an urban sound. This combination of genres appealed to a much larger audience. The music united people from various backgrounds. These writers created songs that both black and white music fans were listening to. The Brill Building became the epicenter of biracial pop culture. This was short-lived because in 1964, The Beatles brought the British Invasion to America and the Brill Building was history. As songwriters found their way past the doors of “the Brill, hit factory” some were able to still churn out strong songs and hits.

Carole and her husband Gerry Goffin continued to write for other people. They wrote over two dozen hit songs that topped the charts and brought success for many artists. In 1967, they wrote a song specifically with one artist in mind. They penned the soulful “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” for soul singer Aretha Franklin. This became a signature hit song for Aretha. Carole continued to write with Gerry until they separated in 1968.

In 1970, Carole King released her first solo album, “Writer”. A young artist named James Taylor played guitar on this album.

I have always admired great songwriters, so I was excited about Carole’s debut album as a solo artist. The album contains several great songs, but one is a favorite Carole song. The song “Child of Mine” was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin for the birth of their first child, “Louise Goffin.” I find this to be one of the most heart-felt songs ever written for the birth of a child. Louise is now an established singer-songwriter that also teaches songwriting to teen girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In February 1971, Carole King’s life as a solo artist changed forever with the release of her second album, “Tapestry”.

I can honestly say that my life changed a bit too. This album had a significant impact on my life. It became the soundtrack to my life. I was like the millions of other women who felt this album was written just for them.

“Tapestry” is a certified Platinum and Diamond release. When an album reaches sales of one million copies it is certified “Platinum” and at sales of 10 million, it becomes a “Diamond” release. To date, Tapestry has sold over thirteen million copies in the U.S. and over twenty-five million copies worldwide.

“Tapestry is ranked at No. 69 on “Acclaimed Music’s” list of the most acclaimed albums in history.

In 1972, Carole King took home the top four Grammy awards for “Tapestry”.

Carole King’s reign as the woman with the longest-charting album on the Billboard Top 200 lasted over 40 years. She also held the record for “most weeks at number 1” by a female artist for over 20 years.

Tapestry was on the Billboard 200 chart for 318 weeks between 1971 and 2011. It stayed at #1 for fifteen consecutive weeks.

Tapestry ranked number 25 on Rolling Stone Magazines prestigious list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-time”

Tapestry was the best-selling album by a female artist for over 25 years.

The Recording Academy’s National Trustees inducted the “Tapestry” album into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

I could write more about Tapestry, but Carole has released twenty-five solo albums, accumulating sales of more than seventy-five million units. Besides, “Tapestry” Carole has released 3 other platinum, and 8 gold albums. (gold album awards are for sales of more than 500,000).

Although I own all of Carole’s albums, I do have some personal favorites. Here are my Top 3 favorites from this iconic songwriter, singer, performer, environmental activist, and humanitarian.

  • Tapestry (available on CD here)
  • Music (available on CD here)
  • Fantasy (not currently available)

I also recommend the CD / DVD of Carole King & James Taylor’s live performance in 2007, at the legendary Troubadour Club in Los Angeles, California in celebration of the club’s 50th anniversary.

Carole and James reunited with their original band for 6 nights to perform the entire original show that was held at The Troubadour in 1971. I attended this show and now everyone can experience this historic, magical night of music.

Carole King, James Taylor Live at the Troubadour
CD and DVD combo available here

Things you may not know about Carole King

  • Carole King and Gerry Goffin were inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” as songwriters in 1990. Carole will receive a second induction as a solo artist and performer on October 30, 2021. You can watch the ceremony on HBO or stream on HBO Max at a later date.
  • Carole King was the first woman awarded the Gershwin Prize for “Popular Song” in 2013 by The Library of Congress. This recognized her lifetime contributions to popular music. In the same year the Recording Academy presented Carole with the “Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.”
  • In 2015, Carole was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor. It was at this award show that Aretha Franklin brought the house down for her amazing performance of the Carole King penned classic, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman). Carole watched and wept through Aretha’s riveting performance.
  • The story of Carole King’s life came to Broadway in a live show called “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” The show won a Tony Award and a Grammy. The show traveled across America and is opening in Chicago on 11/2/21. I highly recommend seeing this show if it comes to a town near you.
  • Carole King is continually active with environmental organizations to support and preserve wilderness.
  • Famed author, playwriter, screenwriter and film director, Nora Ephron was best known for creating romantic comedies with powerful female characters. She loved the music of Carole King, so she used Carole’s music in several of her movies.
  • The music of Carole King is in 456 films and TV shows.
  • Carole has appeared in a few acting roles. In 1975 Carole had a guest appearance on the Mary Tyler Show in Season 5, Episode 24 / “Anyone Who Hates Kids and Dogs”. She was also in three episodes of “The Gilmore Girls.”
  • Carole King composed and performed all the music for Maurice Sendak’s TV musical, “Really Rosie.” The show was based on Sendak’s popular books “Chicken Soup With Rice.” This animated children’s film and soundtrack is a MUST for all Carole King fans and…kids of all ages…even a “BIG KID,” like me! This is pretty hard to find but has the CD available here

I have had a wonderful time featuring “Women in Music.” I personally love so many strong, important, prolific songwriters, singers, and performers. There are so many that I have decided to add more to this section of my Blog at any given time. So, if you also enjoy “Women in Music” drop back to this section to hear about more GREAT women to add to your music collection.

Who are some of your favorite…WOMEN IN MUSIC?


On January 23, 1986 the first group of artists were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame…all were men.

The first woman to be inducted was Aretha Franklin in 1987 and the following year, The Supremes were inducted.

In 2020 inductees Janet Jackson and Stevie Nicks both called for more women to be inducted to the R&R Hall of Fame.

Less than 8% of inductees are women…sad but true!!!

Here are my favorite “women in music” who have been inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame.

Since I have previously written about “Aretha Franklin”, it is no secret how I feel about “The Queen of Soul”.

But she deserves another mention in this feature since she was the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Within the past year there have been two movies about Aretha Franklin. I thoroughly enjoyed both films and both ladies who portrayed Aretha. If you love R&B music and amazing vocalists, Aretha should be in your collection of music.

If you do not own any Aretha titles, use these links to fix that: Collectors’ Choice Music has a huge collection of Aretha Franklin titles here. If you’re looking to shore up your Vinyl collection, has more than 20 LPs available here. has the DVD titles. Season 3 of the National Geographic mini-series “Genius” focuses on Aretha Franklin. It’s available here. Aretha played an important role in The Blues Brothers movie which is available here. The Jennifer Hudson film “Respect” about Aretha’s life can be pre-ordered here, and you can get the soundtrack on LP here.

JANIS JOPLIN (inducted in 1995)

Janis Joplin was a singer songwriter, powerful vocalist, electrifying performer, ROCK GODDESS and “LEGEND”!

In 1965 Janis Joplin was the powerful lead vocalist for the psychedelic rock band “Big Brother & the Holding Company”. In 1967 she blew everyone away with her live performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. In 1969, she gave another iconic performance at Woodstock. If you have not seen the films “Monterey Pop” (available here) or “Woodstock” (available here), both are a “MUST SEE”.

In the same year, Janis released her album “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!” which you can pick up here on CD

On October 4, 1970, at the young age of 27, she was dead due to an accidental heroin overdose. In her short career she released 2 albums with the band “Big Brother”. She then decided she wanted to be a solo act and explore some of the other music that she loved which was heavily rooted in blues, rock, country and R&B. She began recording a new studio album on July 27, 1970. The album was called “Pearl”. She named it Pearl, after a nickname her friend had given to her. Her final recording session took place on October 1,1970, just 3 days before her death. The final song she recorded was the song, “Mercedes Benz”. Sadly, her final album, “Pearl” was released three months after her death on January 11, 1971. Pearl was her most successful album. The album was number one for nine weeks. In 1999, it was re-issued (available here) with four previously unreleased live tracks that were recorded on July 4, 1970. In 2012, “The Pearl Sessions” was released with alternate recordings of the songs from the original “Pearl” album. Pearl has sold over four Million copies and certified quadruple platinum.  

Millions know and LOVE the music of Janis Joplin…but did you know this?

  • During her final studio session, she also recorded a birthday wish to be given to John Lennon on his birthday on October 9, 1970 (five days after her death). She recorded the old cowboy song “Happy Trails” which includes the lyrics “Happy trails to you, until we meet again”…(kind of eerie).
  • Janis loved the blues singer Bessie Smith (The Empress of the Blues)  who was buried in an unmarked grave from 1937 until 1970 when Janis Joplin and Bessie’s old housekeeper paid for a tombstone for her grave.
  • Janis Joplin Loved Billie Holiday. She carried Billie’s autobiography “Lady Sings the Blues” with her from Texas till the day she died. It was like a bible to Janis.
  • Janis was known for drinking “Southern Comfort”. She once broke a bottle of it over the head of Jim Morrison.

A Little Woodstock Trivia

  • In 1969 a one-day ticket for Woodstock was $8.00. On the same day that Janis Joplin performed, you could have also seen Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Crosby, Stills Nash and Young, Sly & the Family Stone, The Band, Joe Cocker, The Jefferson Airplane and more…ALL FOR JUST $8.00.
  • $18.00 got you into all 3 days at Woodstock to see 32 bands and performers. Just $18.00 for the entire 3 DAY “HISTORIC” FESTIVAL. The Coachella Festival could cost anywhere from a one-day ticket at $439 to a 3 day luxury campsite for $9,500 and you usually get one, two or sometimes three main headliners.
  • Jimi Hendrix was the highest paid headliner at Woodstock and was paid $18,000. Ariana Grande was the highest paid headliner at Coachella, she was paid 8 MILLION DOLLARS!!! Beyonce was paid half of what Ariana was paid to headline Coachella….It appears that it’s getting a little more profitable to be a “WOMAN IN MUSIC”, these days!

Have you heard of the 27 Club?

This is a club that you do not want to be part of. Don’t worry, if you are over the age of 27 you will NEVER be in this tragic club.

The 27 Club is comprised of famous people who died at the age of 27. Many succumbed to drugs, alcohol abuse or other violent deaths. These coincidental deaths date back to the 1800’s.

But when Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison, all at the age of 27, oddly died within a year of each other, the 27 Club was officially named.

Other notable members of the 27 club and the years they died are:

Robert Johnson, Blues legend (1938)

Brian Jones, of “The Rolling Stones” (1969)

Alan Wilson, of “Canned Heat” (1970)

Ron Pigpen” McKernan of the “Grateful Dead”(1973)

Pete Ham, of “Badfinger” (1975)

Chris Bell of “Big Star” (1978)

D Boom, of “The Minutemen” (1985)

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988)

Pete de Freitas of “Echo and the Bunnymen” (1989)

Kurt Cobain, of Nirvana (1994)

Freaky Tah, of Lost Boyz (1999)

Jeremy Michel Ward, of “Mars Volta” (2003)

Amy Winehouse (2011)

Come back soon to hear about two “WOMEN IN MUSIC” that were inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame…TWICE!

Erykah Badu

When I was a music buyer for a large chain of music stores, I would often receive albums (promos) by new artists early so I could hear the music and hopefully love it enough to make a large purchase or the “perfect purchase” to supply all of my stores. It could be terrible if a title was released and sold out right away. If this happened a chain could lose a lot of business which would ultimately affect the record label and the artist.

I would usually receive early releases and promos from the sales rep of the label or the distribution company that sold the label’s product. Occasionally for BIG releases I would get special presentations directly from top executives from the record label who would sometimes bring the music and the artist to my office to meet me. I always knew the level of importance of a new artist or release based on the person that was bringing or sending the early promo to me.

In late 1996 I received a package from the President of Urban Music for Universal Music. Inside the package was a personal letter from the the President along with a letter from C.E.O. of the record label that was releasing a new artist named “Erykah Badu”.

It also contained a promo copy of her debut album “Baduizm” that was set to be released in 1997.

I received this album very early and with a very powerful letter from the top executives from the label. I knew it was going to be an important release, but I still wondered if the music was good?

After reading the letter that came with the album, I put the CD in the player, closed my door and pressed play. I understood the importance of the release based on who sent it to me and especially since it was so early before the scheduled release date of February 11, 1997. This seemed to call for my full attention, so I immediately stopped what I was doing to give this an uninterrupted listen. I had 2 ways that I loved to preview new music. I would start with headphones in my office and if it was something I liked I would take it to my car, crank up the volume and go for a drive to hear the whole album. If a CD or tape made it to the car, it was usually something that I ultimately fell in love with. Since most customers listened to music in their cars, it had to sound “great” in my car too.

Erykah Badu’s “Baduizm” went into my car’s CD player and that is where it stayed for about 2 months.

I could not get enough of this album. I had to know everything about this brilliant new talent. I spoke directly to Kedar Massenburg who was the the C.E.O. of Kedar Entertainment. This label was also distributed by the hottest distribution company in the business. Universal Distribution was known for their success with urban music.

Since Erykah’s music was so different at the time, Kedar gave it its own NEW sub-genre. He coined the term NEO-SOUL which stands for Progressive Soul. Neo-Soul can include elements of funk, hip hop, jazz fusion, pop, rock, electronic and African music. Erykah Badu is known as the “First Lady of Neo-Soul” and some call her the “Queen of Neo-Soul”. Her album  “Baduizm” opened the door for many great neo-soul artists.

I became obsessed with Erykah Badu and it was not long until the label invited me to come to the shoot for her first video.

The video was for the first single “On and On” which was released in January of 1997. I spent the entire day on the set of the video.

I hung out with Erykah and her mother as we watched the taping. In between breaks I would get a chance to speak to Erykah. I got to know her, and she continued to invite me to any and all events, shows or parties that took place near Los Angeles. When her debut single, “On and On” was released it shot straight to #1. This song also propelled her debut album to #1 when released on February 11, 1997. The song “On and On” also won a Grammy award for “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” at the 1998 Grammy Award show. Soon the song was a world-wide hit. “On and On” topped all the prestigious music charts. Music critics loved Erykah Badu. Erykah is a gifted songwriter, singer, rapper, poet and performer. Through the years she has also proven to be a good actor. Erykah’s videos are always creative, thought-provoking, sometimes edgy and always worth the wait.

Erykah Badu has now released 5 successful studio albums and a live album. I recommend adding “Baduizm” to your collection and adding the rest in the order in which they were released. Erykah does not release albums often but when she releases one it becomes an “event” in music.

Here are a couple of fun photos taken at different events with Erykah

If you love what you hear from Erykah Badu, you may want to check out some of these other ‘Women in Music”

India Arie

Jill Scott



Meshell Ndegeocello

Chrisette Michelle

Janelle Monae


Jaguar Wright

Leela James

Jhene Aiko

Joni Mitchell

When I think about “Women in Music” I can’t help but to feature one of my personal favorite artists…

  • Joni Mitchell is a songwriter, musician, performer and a painter.
  • Joni is Canadian…she is in the ROCK & ROLL HALL of FAME…Joni is the WINNER of 9 Grammy Awards…
  • Rolling Stone Magazine called her “One of the greatest songwriters ever”
  • It has been said that “Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century”.
  • Joni Mitchell is the artist that other artists admire, respect and LOVE.
  • Joni Mitchell songs have been covered by other artists 6,967 times. “Both Sides Now” has been covered 1,470 times.

There are Joni Mitchell covers that I adore almost as much as her original. Prince loved Joni Mitchell. He went to many of her shows incognito just so he could fully enjoy her show.

When asked to be on a Joni Mitchell tribute album, Prince covered her song “A Case of You”. This is my all-time favorite Joni Mitchell cover. This cover is a MUST-HEAR and a MUST-HAVE for all Joni Mitchell and Prince fans.

I personally began my obsession with Joni Mitchell after hearing her first album “Song to a Seagull” in 1968. I was only 14 years old, and Joni was not the typical artist that most kids my age were listening to. I was the last of 6 children and the one next to me was17 years older. My older brother turned me on to a lot of the music that he listened to and loved (R&B, Folk and Rock in that order). My brother was obsessed with Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and The Beatles. He had a massive record collection, so I was able to listen to tons of artists, songs, albums and various genres of music.

I played guitar with my mom who was a country musician, so I also listened to early country artists. But, when I first heard folk music, I was hooked. I learned the songs on my guitar and later I took up other instruments like the dulcimer and mandolin due to my love for Joni Mitchell.

When a new Joni record was released, I had to have it.

Some of her albums I have bought several times due to wearing them out, buying the next format that they were released on, or simply because I gave them away to people I love. Back in the day I could load several albums on my turntable, and the next record would drop as each album ended. My bedtime ritual would be to load up Joni, Dylan, Carole King, James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and Elton John records to drift off to sleep to. When I woke up I would usually play them over again.

If you were to ask most of my friends, who my favorite artist is they would say “Joni Mitchell”. Most of my friends know this even though I am heavily associated with hip-hop music.

For me I have always felt that folk music and hip hop have a lot in common.

Both genres are based in poetry. Folk and rap lyrics both strongly voice opinions about social justice, injustice, environmental, and political issues. Folk and rap music is often considered to be protest music. Folk and rap artists express themselves in a way that speaks directly to their audience. They raise awareness about things going on within communities, mankind, the streets, between race, gender and world issues. Both Rap and Folk tell the stories of what is really going on in the streets throughout the world. Folk and Rap artists report what is going on in the world through their music. Both are raw, honest and can bring positive change when needed.

Joni is a folk artist that incorporates elements of jazz, classical, pop and rock.

When Joni turned 75, there was a concert to celebrate her birthday. There was a recording of that special evening. It is titled, “Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration”.

Many stars came out to pay tribute to Joni by performing their favorite Joni Mitchell songs. The line-up included Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Los Lobos, Kris Kristofferson, Seal and Rufus Wainwright.

It was a magical evening for Joni and everyone in attendance. The video and recording of this once in a lifetime performance is a MUST for all fans of Joni Mitchell and all the artists that performed on the special evening.

I adore Joni and I could write a book about her impact on my life. Instead of hearing more from me I recommend just listening to the music of Joni Mitchell.

I love all of Joni’s 19 albums but here are a few of my favorites.

  • Blue (1971) This entire album is a masterpiece and it is often listed as one of the “The Greatest Albums of All-time”. The album contains my favorite Joni Mitchell song, “A Case of You”. This is also the song that Prince covered on the “Tribute to Joni Mitchell Album”.
    CD available here
  • Court and Spark (1974) This was Joni’s most successful album. The song “Help Me” received a lot of radio airplay. The album has sold millions of copies.
    CD available here
  • Ladies of the Canyon (1970) This album was written about Joni’s life while living in Laurel Canyon in the 60’s. Laurel Canyon was the epicenter of folk and immerging rock artists in the 60’s and early 70’s. The album contains 4 of my favorite Joni songs, “Big Yellow Taxi”, “The Circle Game” “Rainy Night House” and “Woodstock”.
    CD available here
  • Don Juans Reckless Daughter (1977) It is experimental and quite different from Joni’s other work. The album features some prominent jazz legends as well as Chaka Khan, Glen Frey and J.D. Souther. My favorite track is “Dreamland”.
    CD available here
  • Clouds (1969) This is in my top 5 Joni Mitchell albums for all the songs on “Clouds”. But it does contain two of Joni’s most beloved songs, “Chelsea Morning” and “Both Sides Now” are both found on “Clouds”. A large majority of people thinks that Judy Collins wrote “Both Sides Now” but it was written by Joni and first released by Judy Collins. Joni’s song was a hit for Judy Collins, and it established Joni as an important new songwriter. This one is currently unavailable but if I find it I’ll let you know. If you find it, snap it up!

I recently added a new collectible Joni Mitchell release to my massive Joni collection. I highly recommend this release to ALL serous Joni fans. It will also make the perfect gift for the Joni Mitchell fans in your life.

“Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years  (1963-1967)”
The 5-CD Boxed Set with over 100 tracks is available here

The 5 CD collectors box set features over 5 hours of unreleased Joni Mitchell recordings. The live, home and radio recordings were all recorded before her debut album “Songs to a Seagull” in 1968. This collection contains 119 songs. There are 29 original Joni songs that were never released with her vocals but you can own these treasured recordings just by buying this incredible piece of Joni Mitchell history. Many of these songs were unheard before this limited release. You will even hear Joni doing a few covers of other songs like “The House of the Rising Sun”. It also contains a rare 1967 cover of Neil Young’s “Sugar Mountain”. The collection features a 40 page booklet that includes unseen photos from Joni’s personal collection. The liner notes feature a conversation between famed music journalist, writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe and Joni herself. This is the first release from this series, Cameron Crowe has hinted that there will be other volumes of this JONI MITCHELL collectors box set. Joni tells stories before songs, you will hear her unique guitar tuning. This is a historic, rare release that is modestly priced for what you are getting.

“Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)”  has become my most cherished Joni purchase. I can’t wait to get my hands on additional volumes.

If you are are into vinyl, Joni Mitchell: The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) LP Boxed Set includes 4 albums (Song to a Seagull, Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, and Blue) all in a beautiful boxed set available here

If you are a more casual Joni fan, here is a GREATEST HITS collection that I also recommend…

Joni Mitchell: Hits on CD available here

I will close by sharing one of my most treasured personal photos.

This was taken at an intimate Joni performance and exhibit of her art at the Gene Autry Museum in California  on January 26, 1995.

Come back soon to hear about my personal experiences with the First Lady and Queen of Neo-Soul…..ERYKAH BADU

She had me at just the piano

Alicia Keys, from Harlem to worldwide superstar.

I promise that I will not just write about artists discovered by Clive Davis but there may be a few since he seems to have a golden ear when it comes to finding strong, talented women.

I will never forget the day I first heard Alicia Keys. A label representative came to my office to preview what would be her first album. The rep was known to present music just like Clive, which meant it was played LOUD, UNINTERUPTED and you would hear each of the presumed hit songs 2 or 3 times. And Clive always knew exactly which songs would be hits. In my position as a music buyer for a large chain, I also had a good ear for picking hit songs. One of the greatest things that Clive ever said to me was when I saw him at a show at the Roxy in Hollywood Ca, and he grabbed my ears and told me that I had “golden ears”.

My own personal preview of “SONGS in A Minor”

This was not just one of Clive’s Arista signings, this was the first release from his own label “J Records”. Alicia Keys was a classically trained pianist. She wrote, arranged and produced most of the album herself.

The rep from the label started with track #1, from “Songs in A Minor” which was “Piano & I”. She had me at just the piano since I love keyboards.

Next up was the song “Girlfriend”. My first thought was that Clive discovered another very talented artist. The rep shared a few photos of Alicia, and it was clear she had the looks to make major media and TV appearances. The camera seemed to love her gorgeous young face. Alicia was just 15 years old when she signed her record deal with Clive Davis.

Then came track #3. “How Come You Don’t Call Me”. It blasted out of the speaker and into my soul. It was a Prince song which was risky unless you had the talent to pull it off. Alicia had the talent and she nailed the “Prince” song.

But I was still slightly skeptical about her because I was waiting to hear that one song, written by her that would propel her to stardom. I only had to wait until the next track to hear, “that song”

Track 4, was “FALLIN”…it was the one that would go on to be her first #1 single and sell over 12 million copies worldwide.

As we continued through the album, I heard more beautiful songs. Alicia combined elements of soul, jazz. R&B, classical, gospel, blues and hip hop on her debut album. At the time the genre known as neo-soul was becoming very popular. Neo-soul combined a lot of other genres to give the fans a little more substance and soul than the typical R&B albums. Neo-soul became a popular sub-genre of R&B. Neo-soul was a reflection of what was happening throughout the world as R&B artists started listening to and experimenting with all types of music genres.

As I write about “Women in Music” I will feature other artists known for popularizing “neo-soul”.

As we continued through the preview of “Songs in A Minor” I heard a total of 16 songs. Four of these songs went on to be hit singles for Alicia Keys. The songs, “Fallin”, “A Woman’s Worth”, “Girlfriend” and “How Come You Don’t Call Me” all debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

The album “Songs in A Minor” was released on June 5, 2001. Music critics loved the album and deemed it as a “classic”. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. During it’s first year the album and Alicia Keys won many top honors to include 5 Grammy Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Awards and more. Songs in A Minor has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.

Since her debut album, Alicia has now released 7 hit studio albums, 2 live albums, a re-mix album and 45 singles. She has sold over 42 million albums worldwide and has won 11 Grammy awards, 11 Billboard Awards and 3 American Music Awards.

This young girl born in Harlem who started playing the piano at age 7 is now a WORLDWIDE SUPER STAR!

Through the years I had the honor of seeing many of special shows and tours. I even got the rare opportunity to sit right in front of Alicia’s piano as she played several of her hits and new songs in a studio.

I have taken several photos with Alicia and here is just one of them.

Alicia Keys is worthy of sitting among everyone’s music collection. Here are some links where you can find her extraordinary music and talent, courtesy of, one of the sponsors of this blog:

Alicia Keys: Songs in A Minor on CD

Alicia Keys: The Diary of Alicia Keys on CD

Alicia Keys: As I Am on CD

Alicia Keys: The Element of Freedom on CD

Alicia Keys: Girl on Fire on CD

Alicia Keys: Here on CD

Alicia Keys: Alicia on CD

And this link will take you to more Alicia Keys music like live albums, LP versions and more – More Alicia Keys

In September I will feature some of the Greatest and most important “Women in Music”. The features will be a reflection of my own personal taste in music so it will be a mix of genres.


The gifted, extraordinary artist & creator of the Lilith Fair Festival… and the Iconic Music Mogul behind her success…CLIVE DAVIS

Sarah McLachlan is a Canadian artist that first popped on the scene in 1987. She was known for her piano based emotional song writing and live performance.

Sarah McLachlan: Touch

She released her album “Touch” in 1988 and due to the success of “Touch” she caught the attention of famed music mogul Clive Davis.

In 1989 she was signed by Clive to release her records in the U.S. under his Arista record label. Clive had an exceptional ear and talent for finding new and interesting artists. He had a special gift of breaking female artists. Clive often picked the songs that the artists became known for. He loved finding those artists that could write as well as perform. After signing with Clive Davis, Sarah’s career took off like wild fire.

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Let’s Talk Music…

As the summer comes to an end, I can’t think of a better time to get into….MORE MUSIC!

When September rolls around I am usually looking forward to all of the festivals and live shows to end my summer with a ‘BANG”. As I anxiously wait for ALL venues and tours to resume, I will have my fill of all the music I want but in the form of Music Documentaries, Biopics, Vinyl and CD’s.

Back in the day one of my favorite summer festivals was the Lilith Fair. This was a touring festival founded by Sarah McLachlan that celebrated the music of women.

The festival featured amazing female solo acts and female-led bands. There were no special genres of music, it was just a HUGE celebration of ALL women in music. Between the years of 1997-1999 and then revived in 2010 you could attend Lilith Fair and know that you would see female super-stars, legends and the newest, interesting, rising female stars. Each city featured a different line-up of women in music.

So, for September I will celebrate a vast catalog of female artists. For “Women in Music” I will not focus on any genres, I will just highlight some of the amazing and interesting women that write, produce and perform “GREAT MUSIC”.

The women that I feature this month will make up my own fantasy Women’s Music Festival. Of course, I will recommend and offer music from the legendary female artists, but I will also feature some of the newer interesting females that are rising towards stardom.